There cannot be different medical systems for one human being as we are of the same species. There can only be different perspectives. I realised this idea as I went through the journey of studying Chinese Medicine at International Medical University (IMU). I am Desmond Tee Wei Kang (in the photo above), a Chinese Medicine alumnus of IMU.
My journey at IMU began with Foundation in Science in 2015 (FiS 2/15). At the end of FiS, frankly speaking, I was still uncertain about my future career and which healthcare industry I really was interested. Chinese Medicine was not my first choice then, as I did not have any idea about this ancient medical practice and I did not want take the risk to regret my choice.
However, after discussing with my parents, they encouraged me to give Chinese Medicine a try as the course consists of strong western science and medicine components, which would benefit my foundation in the healthcare industry even if I opted for other healthcare courses later.
During the first semester, I was still skeptical about the idea of practicing an alternative medicine. But as time progressed, I slowly understood that Chinese Medicine is not different from conventional medicine. It is just understanding and treating patients and diseases from a different, more holistic perspective.
I was amazed by how well the Chinese Medicine knowledge and skills were delivered to us. Through multimodal learning that involved engaging lectures, problem-based learning (PBL), interactive practicals and workshops, I was able to grasp the concepts of Chinese Medicine theory, herbal treatments and acupuncture techniques.
Although COVID hit during my last semester which involved clinical practices and attachments, however, with the dedication and hard work of our lecturers, we managed to continue our clinical sessions in both IMU Chinese Medicine Centre and Tung Shin Hospital, where I applied the theories and skills that I had learnt throughout the course in a direct clinical patient contact settings.
The most memorable moment was when I first learnt about acupuncture. It was fascinating to observe how signs and symptoms could be relieved by inserting a few acupuncture needles into various acupoints on the body. What made acupuncture even more interesting was I sprained my left ankle on the way to attend a class one day. My ankle was so swollen and painful that I could not walk properly. Without a doubt, my first thought was to try out the effect of acupuncture, so I decided to go to IMU Chinese Medicine Centre. The practitioner who attended me was my senior. After the assessment, she did acupuncture for me on my left leg and ankle. Within half an hour, the swelling had significantly reduced. All swelling and pain subsided in the next afternoon, and I could walk normally again. On the same day, I regained interest and confidence in becoming a skillful Chinese Medicine practitioner.
Now, I am currently working in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. I am indeed very grateful for the journey of studying Chinese Medicine at IMU, for IMU has taught me enough knowledge and skills to survive in the industry. I was able to interpret the mechanism of various diseases and treat it with different approaches, including herbal treatments, acupuncture, tuina, etc. Learning Chinese Medicine in English and involvement of western medical knowledge, such as anatomy, physiology and pathology, also have given me the ability to work hand-in-hand with physiotherapists and doctors to formulate the most appropriate treatment for our patients without any communication barriers. In addition, the culture of IMU has always been emphasising student-centered and lifelong learning. As students, we were always encouraged to explore knowledge by ourselves and looked beyond the field of Chinese Medicine. This became more meaningful after I graduated from IMU, as I will actively look for updated scientific knowledge regarding Chinese Medicine, Western medicine, and even general public health concerns.
Gone are the days in IMU where I spent most of my day with my lecturers and classmates exploring the wonders of Chinese Medicine. Although I have officially graduated from IMU, I will never forget how IMU did more than just prepare me academically. You prepared me for life. Today you make me proud, tomorrow I will make you, my alma mater, prouder.